I've been here in Switzerland for about a month now and live has been pretty amazing! Swiss is surround by these gorgeous mountains that seem to never end. The food is amazing and the people are really nice even though we don't speak any italian! There are beautiful churches everywhere you look and the weather has been getting a little warmer, but the clouds have been holding back their tears.
Coming here, I knew that it wasn't really my style of climbing. The problems are full of crimps and crazy body positions and heel hooks about your head. But I wanted to get better at my anti-style, so that's what I have been trying to do. Try different boulders and hopefully get stronger because of it.
The main thing that I was able to accomplish was projecting and ultimately sending the climb. I have not spent a lot of time projecting boulders. I tend to try someone and either send it that day or come back another day to complete it. So finding a boulder that seemed possible, and going back to it for several days was something that I just haven't done much of and it was a very good learning experience.
The first day I saw the boulder, without even trying it or touching the holds I wanted to climb it. Jimmy warmed up and flashed the boulder, which was inspiring and that's when I got my shoes on. There are no other boulders around, so I warmed up on the last few moves of the boulder. They are a little bit better holds and it's always good to have the last part of a 21 move boulder memorized to not mess up on the send. I sat there working out the moves. After several hours on it, I had most of the moves figured out. I still couldn't do the first and second move and there was another move where I had to bump to a crimp and I hadn't been able to do this move either.
Jimmy and I had convinced Alex and Nina to come try this boulder because of how amazing it was. It was very motivating to watch other females trying the same moves. Alex came up with alternate beta using a small crimp and a right push foot. This beta just didn't suit me, so I kept trying it my way. I was super surprised with how I was doing on the boulder. I had the boulder in to sections and felt very strong on it even though conditions weren't prime. Towards the end of the session the right push foot that Alex had used broke (which was also the right hand starting hold) At first I didn't think it would matter, because I only toe hooked the right starting hold. But once I tried the toe hook it just wouldn't stay anymore. It was a little frustrating to feel so close to sending it, and to then have it all crumble because a hold broke. I only spent another 10 minutes trying to figure out some new beta, I was so tired already and just called it good.
Jan and Jule came in for a week visit, and we convinced them to come try "i portici." Jimmy gave us some beta for the moves that I was having trouble with and it worked! I was now able to do all the moves on the boulder once again. So I started to try the boulder from the bottom. I gave it one good effort and made it through what I thought was the hardest part, I stuck the first big move, grabbed the two small crimps and went big to the good hold. I felt my fingers graze the hold and then I found myself on a pad on the ground. Jimmy asked me "What happened?" At first I didn't know what happened. Maybe I didn't go hard enough to the hold. Maybe I was too tired. Maybe my right smear foot was in the wrong place. All of these seemed like good answers. So i hopped back on, and try the move a few times with different options for my right foot. I thought, okay this will work now. I rested up a good while to let my fingers cool down and got my shoes back on. I found myself in the same position I was in the last try. Got my foot on the right smear and went for the hold. I was on the ground again. This time when Jimmy asked "What happened?" I knew the answer... My heel pulled me back, so when I thought I had the hold, my body went backwards. I couldn't believe it! Falling so far up and not being able to execute. I was mentally warn out as well as physically. I tried it a couple more times, but the energy and the psych just wasn't there anymore.
I had fallen the last time I was at the boulder, I knew I could climb the boulder. I warm up on the finish again and start trying it from the bottom. I find myself not being able to hold onto the holds. The rock felt hot and my skin was sweaty. I was falling apart and could control my anger that I felt towards the boulder and myself for not complete it the last time I was on it. "How do I fall so far last time and now I can't even get to the first big move!!!" I was beating myself up just trying it from the bottom and falling on the first move or the fourth or the second. My hands just greasing on all the holds. It was awful! It was getting dark and I was about to just give up but instead I decided to try the top some more and figure out maybe an easier way to do the big gaston move I had fallen on couple days ago. I tried a couple different things and finally figured out that I just needed to put my heel up higher which put my body just that much closer to the hold. It felt ten times easier than before. I ran the sequence a couple times and left feeling happy even though earlier I was filled with hatred towards the boulder.
We had been going to the boulder in the mornings because it stays in the shade until two. We decided to try it in the evening once the sun had gotten off of it. It was a bad idea. The rock had been sitting in the sun for a few hours and made the holds unbearable. I tried so far to do the first few moves, but holding onto pinches was so hard to do. I was ripping skin every time I tried any of the moves. I was getting so frustrated that I started to cry a little bit. I just wanted to complete this boulder, and it felt as if I was doing worse and worse on it everyday. I gritted my teeth and gave it my all and fell right before the first big move. My fingers were slipping off of every hold that I grabbed, but yet I was able to get through a good chunk of the boulder. It was clear the boulder wasn't going to go down today, but I knew if could happen when the rock didn't feel so hot and my skin not so sweaty.
We got to the boulder super early compared to the other days. I think it was around 9am. Conditions felt better than before, but not as cold as the day I had my best effort on the boulder. I warmed up like I always do on the top portion of the climb. My fingers felt a little sweaty and I got a little nervous. I also warmed up doing the first big move and going to the top. I felt a little pumped but perfect for a warm up. I got the pads ready at the bottom, sat down and let my fingers cool off. I chalked up, placed my left heel, grabbed the start holds, placed my right smear and pulled off the ground... 21 moves later I find myself grabbing the jug at the top of the boulder and topping out!
I've have just described the day to day battle that I had with this boulder. What I have not mentioned is the mental game that I had to deal with. After the 3rd day, I knew I was physically strong enough to send the boulder. So why did it take me until day 6 to send it? This proves to me how much of climbing is mental... Before I would go to sleep I would visualize myself climbing the boulder successfully, over and over again. I thought about the boulder while trying other boulders. On the 6th day I concentrated on staying HAPPY the whole time before we got there and while we were there. The power of just being HAPPY can surprise you... I also got a "psych" video from my buddy Doug, which got me laughing and ultimately cleared my mind of any negative thoughts. As I mentioned before, projecting has taught me a lot about myself, climbing, conditions and most of all the mental game with climbing.